There was $201,200 worth of John Simpson Sr. stakes series action for sophomore colts on Friday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia – the Albatross stake for pacers and the Ayres stake for trotters.
The five horses from these groups who won divisions of their Liberty Bell stakes earlier in the fall were all in to go on Friday, in separate divisions.
None of them had raced since their Liberty Bell triumphs on October 1 – an absence of 21 days.
All five of them went off at 3-1 or less – three of them were odds-on favorites.
All five of them lost. And every Simpson division was won by a horse who had raced since October 1.
Starting with the pacers in the Albatross, the American Ideal gelding Town Gossip won the swiftest of the three divisions, going down the road with fractions of :27, :55.1, and 1:21.4, then responded to driver Joe Bongiorno’s urging to finish out with a new mark of 1:49.3, 2-1/2 lengths ahead of Always A Miki. Liberty Bell winner South Beach Star was fourth. Town Gossip, coming off a 1:51.4 win at Yonkers on October 12, is trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owner Robert Weinstein, and now has earnings of $424,919.
The next pacing division saw Liberty Bell winner Whichwaytothebeach, 2-3 in the Jug and triumphant locally, having to settle for third behind the Captaintreacherous colt Red Right Hand, who dropped his lifetime best a tick to 1:50. Dexter Dunn had this colt, a 1:50.1 winner here on October 15, on the lead past the :27.1 quarter, then put up midsplits of :54.3 and 1:21.3 before holding off His Beats Hanover by 1-1/2 lengths. Trainer Nancy Takter and her ownership partner JAF Racing LLC are in the group behind the improving three-year-old with Christina Taker, Joe Sbrocco, and R A W Equine Inc.
Adios winner Hellabalou tried his luck in the third Bret Hanover division, but having to go uncovered in a race with fractions of :26.1, :55.4, and 1:23 set by Bettor Of The West took just enough out of him that pocketsitter Toronto got up the inside late to defeat the favourite by three-quarters of a length in 1:50. A sharp 1:49.1 winner in a recent overnight, the winning altered son of Always B Miki (out of the well-remembered mare See You At Peelers) was driven by Marcus Miller for trainer Robert Cleary and Royal Wire Products Inc.
The Ayres trotting stakes could prove no more a springboard for repeat local stakes winners. Sunny Crockett got a good trip behind the Muscle Hill colt Mon Amour, who put up early fractions of :27.3 and :57.1, then came home in :56.1 to complete the 1:53.2 package, with Sunny Crockett five lengths back. Mon Amour, fifth in the Kentucky Futurity, has amassed earnings of $202,850; he is trained and was driven by Åke Svanstedt for the longtime partners Al Libfeld, Marvin & Lynn Katz, and Sam Goldband.
Next to try his luck was Capstone, but he chose to sit the pocket behind stablemate Lepanto cutting fractions of :27.4, :57, and 1:25.3, and when that one faded he was badly shuffled and eventually broke. Taking advantage was the Credit Winner gelding Dees Red Delicous, coming off a creditable finish from post eight against older horses at Pocono, and he forged to the lead and won in 1:54.4. The winner of $323,670 was driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Travis Alexander and owner Joseph Martinelli Sr.
The third Ayres division had no Liberty Bell–winning horses, but it did have a recently-raced winner in the Bar Hopping colt Arnold N Dicky, a 1:53.1 winner here on October 8. Victor Kirby sent this talented trotter frontward and to the lead past a :27.3 quarter, and after middle fractions of :56 and 1:24 he finished out in 1:52.4, only three-fifths of a second shy of the local divisional standard set by Googoo Gaagaa. Trainer Chuck Sylvester co-owns the $212,683 career earner with Amy Stoltzfus and Linda Goldman.
Sunday’s card at Harrah’s Philadelphia is headlined by a $22,500 winners-over distaff handicap pace, with the likes of Soho Burning Love A and Crazy Cute; a $16,200 co-feature is headlined by 2019 Adios winner Southwind Ozzi. Program pages for the 12:40 card are available on the PHHA website.
(PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia)